A Most Beautiful Moon

Impressionist Moon

Painting Completed 1995
15 3/4 x 10 9/16 inches, Acrylic on Masonite

I've painted a number of studies over the years to record some of my memories of seeing the moon close up. My first study showed how Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon, and I saw the moon an hour or so after we thrusted out of lunar orbit heading for home. To my surprise the moon appeared exactly as if we were looking at a large black-and-white photograph. This unexpected and strange optical illusion occurred because of the strong direct back scatter of sunlight by the lunar dirt even from the soil and rocks at the outer edge of the moon. I could not recognize the moon as a sphere, only as a flat disc. The study was technically accurate but to me an uninteresting and unartistic black-and-white painting. I set it aside.

My second study was an unsuccessful attempt to show the pronounced blue of the reflected earth light as it strikes the shadow area of the moon. It was a little more colorful blue-gray, but still a monochromatic painting. I set it aside. I painted several others with similar unsatisfying results.

Years later i wanted to paint the moon in some of my favorite hues. My vision of what a painting of the moon could be had matured, not so scientific or realistic. That is what we artists do, you know. My task or goal, as I see it now, is to create something for a human to look at that they recognize as the moon but that helps the viewer enjoy or feel in a way that they might not otherwise experience, help a person see something more than stark reality, perhaps a visual treat that is beautiful, interesting to study and enjoy.

This moon I have painted is suggestive of the real one created by nature over the last 4.6 Billion years. I hope my painting is just as beautiful and interesting to look at in its own special way.